Thoughts of retiring overseas is logically one of the most common contemplations people have when they start thinking about their future. Ideas of sharing crepes within view of the Eiffel Tower, being in the midst of the action in New York City’s Times Square around midnight or taking in stage performances at the Sydney Opera House are all attractive considerations.
Although romantic in a dreamy sense, each of those options … well, let’s just say they don’t offer those seductive and magical qualities that so strongly appeal to our deepest yearnings. Although they are typically and frequently glamorized—over and over again—as the places to be, the reality is that they are lacking, that they have so many key aspects of life working against them, that they are simply not logical choices—especially if you are on any type of a budget.
Fortunately there is a place that not only seduces every part of your dreaminess but also appeals to your more practical desires—those which allow you to truly relax and soak in the intangible magic and romance that will come to define your life.
Where is this place? Well, you’re reading this article for a reason, but I’ll engage with the greater humanity’s appreciation for the dramatic and do a “reveal” nonetheless. This enchanting, charming and captivating place is none other than …
Retirement in the Philippines—a country that feels like home the moment you arrive—could very easily prove to be the wisest decision of your lifetime.
Well, the truth is that the reasons are sincerely endless—and it is not uncommon to regularly find yourself falling in love with this mystical land over and over again for various and completely unexpected reasons; however, there are certain elements that prove to be the most decisive and immediate factors when making such an important decision—and they are soooooo good.
Take a few moments and review the top ten reasons you should retire in the Philippines. After doing so, it’s likely that your contemplation—wherever they may have been—will nuzzle up with the limitless potential of living in the land of 7107 islands.
In relative terms, the cost of living in the Philippines is much, much less than nearly every other country. How much less expensive? Well, it’s actually, well, astonishing! The Philippines is 65% less expensive that the United States of America, 57% less expensive than Germany, and 67% less expensive than Australia, just to name a few. This includes accommodations, healthcare, food, consumer goods, transportation, leisure activities—it includes everything!
You want a few, first-hand experience, simple examples? No problem. (As a general rule, prices are slightly higher in Metro Manila and slightly—sometimes dramatically—lower in the provinces.)
The average monthly rate for a three-bedroom apartment or condominium unit is approximately $200—remember: less in the provinces, more in Metro Manila. You’ll spend about $100 each month on the generous consumption of electricity, cooking gas and on the water bill. A weekly supply of fresh fish, meat and vegetables from the wet markets or grocery store will only cost about $50. A live-in maid can be hired for only $100 per month. An ice-cold, bottle of beer is less than $1 in most establishments. A haircut—with a brief neck and shoulder massage—in the provinces is $0.90 and averages around $2.50 in Metro Manila. A first-run American movie in a world-class cinema is approximately $3-4; a viewing on an IMAX screen is $8. Two large, meat-lovers pizzas can be had—delivered—for $5. A combo-meal in McDonalds is approximately $2.
According to the World’s Top Retirement Havens, the Philippines scored a perfect 100% under Cost of Living in the 2015 edition. If you have even the slightest concern about whether or not your pension and/or retirement savings will stretch far enough, consider the Philippines—you’ll find the relief you deserve.
According to a recent survey by the US firm Gallup, the Philippines ranks as the #4 happiest nation in the world. Adding to their happiness, the Philippines ranked #5 on a similar CNN poll. For perspective, the USA (#33) and Germany (#47) found themselves middling happy. Similar surveys also revealed that Filipinos carry the absolute highest positive emotions worldwide—the highest! Who wouldn’t want to live—and grow old—amongst optimistic people who transform their stress into good vibes and affirmative stories?
Filipinos possess that elusive it; they carry with them in their DNA that indefinable X-Factor. They are famous for their world-class hospitality; they are naturally warm, kind and passionate. The Filipino people are resilient and strong. They are peaceful and generous with their smiles and services. They would be eager to extend their assistance if called upon. They sing—constantly—everywhere, anywhere. They laugh. They congregate. They celebrate—everything. Bright, colorful and rich festivals seem to occur non-stop throughout the country.
Of great importance to their culture, the Philippines is among one of the few remaining nations whose people offer respect to its elders and give utmost importance to family, friends and neighbors. They love each other and they love each other’s company far more than status or wealth—and they show it, proudly and unapologetically. They demonstrate it as they regularly walk arm-in-arm or hand-in-hand down streets, along the beach or through shopping malls. The Filipino are a people who have not forgotten—and it is clear that they will never forget—the value of community.
Located just below the equator, the Philippines is a tropical country with only two seasons throughout the year: the half-rainy-and-half-sunny season and the completely sunny season. The climate is perfect for people—aging or otherwise—who cannot withstand or simply no longer desire the biting cold of a Western winter.
During the months of March through May, it is generally warmest and sunniest in the Philippines—as a result, it is during these months that the youth enjoy their summer break from school. Sun and rain rotate through the months of June through October. It is cold—in local relative terms, of course—but dry during the months of November through February. January is the coldest month and has lower humidity with a fantastic sea breeze. The average temperature during the entire year ranges from 90°F to 78°F.As the Philippines is the third largest English-speaking nation in the world, and as Filipino and English are the two official languages in the Philippines, communicating with Filipinos will never be an issue. Most educated Filipinos speak the English language with confidence; while others, although they may laugh and endearingly utter the words “nose bleed” (a local euphemism for I’m really trying to speak English … I’m trying! I’m trying!), may struggle and appear shy, all while still communicating at a rather acceptable level.
The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) is mandated to ensure that all senior citizens in the country receive high-quality health and medical benefits as well as valuable shopping, dining and traveling discounts. It is PRA’s responsibility to attract foreign nationals and former Filipino citizens to spend their retirement days in the Philippines—an attempt to help the country further its socio-economic development. As a retiree in the Philippines, you will directly benefit from that bureaucratic-minded logic.
Compared to its neighboring countries—and especially compared to countries in the West—the cost of hospital services in the Philippines is far less expensive yet health care providers ensure equal—if not better—high-quality health-related products and services from well-trained doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Additionally, wellness and spa centers are abundant in the Philippines. Massage therapy, acupuncture and various alternative and natural treatments and practices exist to help you restore any potentially lost vitality while promoting relaxation and good health.
The various benefits of retiring in the Philippines—and there are many, including arguably the best residency program in the world—will only enhance the welcome feeling that you are welcome, will be cared for and are appreciated.
Filipino food is primarily influenced by the Spanish and Chinese cultures, while the Japanese, Indian, Arabic, and Italian cultures have also contributed to the Filipino native culinary dishes. The influence of America and other Western countries can also be easily recognized—very easily. All the best-known Western dishes—burgers, French fries, hot dogs, pizza, noodles, pastas, et cetera—are widely available in the Philippines. Foreigners and locals alike can find various restaurants—suited to all income levels—in the many parts of the country that offer diverse, world-class cuisine.
The island itself provides an abundance of tropical fruits including guyabano, rambutan, mangoes, pili nuts, avocados, oranges, bananas, limes, lanzones, durian, pineapple, coconut, watermelon, mangosteen and many, many more.
As the bar graph above illustrates, the Philippines is the #1 country in the world regarding global social network penetration. As a result, retirees from any country in the world can keep themselves closely in touch and updated with what is happening with loved ones through utilization of the constantly improving telecommunication facilities in the Philippines. Every modern convenience that is available to an individual in the most developed nations is also available in the Philippines. The bottom line is this: foreign nationals who chose to re-locate in the Philippines will never feel isolated from the rest of the world—unless, of course, they choose.
Additionally, expats can find all the basic necessities and conveniences of modern living in the Philippines. Large malls, modern transportation and high-tech telecommunications network abound. The local, multi-screen cinemas show first-run Hollywood movies in English—most often even one week before release in America. Whether your favorite shows on television are Downton Abbey or Game of Thrones, all of the prominent Western cable TV channels that offer programs from various countries around the world are also reliably available in the Philippines.
Traveling in and around the islands is not an issue. In fact, it’s a combination of both rather simple and enjoyable. With functionally strong highways and roads in most parts of country, driving is a pleasure. If one does not have or need a personal vehicle, public transport easily meets the demand of all commuting needs—again, at various budget levels. Everything from pedi-cabs to tricycles to Jeepneys (pictured above) to ferry boats to buses to taxis to car and speedboat rentals to private helicopters are available to carry people from one place to another within the same island or island-hopping.
Although Filipino traditions and customs continue to thrive, the locals have adopted a Westernized way of living to a significant enough degree that adjustment to life in the Philippines is made all the easier for someone from the United States, Germany or Australia, to name only a few examples. The easily admired and appreciated Filipino spirit, culture and value system, however, remains the engine that makes the Philippines hum—even in the face of outside influence.
In a manner of speaking, the Filipinos have adopted the best of Western cultures while maintaining their self-identity—and that identity revolves around togetherness. The Filipinos are mostly a very social people. Most everything they do—play, laugh, dance, sing, eat—they do together.
Most endearingly, the people of the Philippines still possess exceptionally strong values regarding the treatment of their elders. In the Philippines, elders are loved, appreciated and are very respected regarding every interaction with which they are engaged. The elders are respected and honored for their knowledge and experience of living a long life.
It is along these lines that the togetherness is clearly evident. Regardless of the celebration, all Filipinos—young and old—laugh and play together. Everyone is included. Everyone is loved.
The Philippines is beautiful. It’s a paradise. It’s a country rich in natural resources—beaches, waterfalls, mountains, caves, underground rivers, volcanoes, and other land formations. It is also parts a glorious metropolis with theaters, clubs and spectacular shopping and restaurants.
If you were to combine the activities that stem from a more developed sensibility—golfing, tennis, shopping, dining, sight-seeing, movies, concerts, shows, et cetera—with the activities provided by Mother Nature … well, let’s just say there are probably not enough day, weeks and years on your calendar to fit it all in.
Throughout the thousands of islands that make up the Philippines, outdoor activities await. For example, you might consider the following: walking the beach, snorkeling, surfing, bird watching, caving, wakeboarding, swimming with whale sharks, mountain or flat-trail biking, rafting, world-class diving, and kayaking, just to name a few.
With the increasing number of developments all over the country, finding a place to live should be relatively easy. The trick, however—and this is the most important aspect of the search—is finding a place that not only provides you a lifetime of comfort but also captures everything that makes the Philippines so incomparably amazing!